Abstract Thinking: [15.01] Bhavana Of Appreciation

Published: 06.02.2007
Updated: 06.10.2008

There is the bhavana of joy. For him, who is not happy in himself, it is difficult to comprehend the bhavana of joy. Only he, who is his own friend, can keep happy. And he, who has found happiness in himself, is happy with one and all, everywhere. Unhappiness does not exist for him. He, who is not happy in himself, is ever-busy finding fault with others. He envies other people's happiness or excellence. Viewing other people's merits, he may try to induce in himself the feeling of joy, and even though he may temporarily find some satisfaction in the attempt, the complex of envy is hard to dissolve. He, who wants to be free of envy, must keep eternally happy. This is not impossible. One should be happy with whatever one has got, and must allow no leeway to frustration. As we grow attuned to ourselves, desires would cease to afflict us. As a natural consequence, other people's excellences or non-excellences would not then distract our attention. Generally one's special qualities are a source of pleasure, whereas their absence excites pity. Just as one person can touch the summit of progress, so can another. But the latter, proceeding in the wrong direction, becomes an object of pity. Learn to be happy in yourself. Then no unhappiness will come to you from others, nor will their excellences or prosperity cause you any dismay.

Appreciation of Excellence

The Acharya prayed: "O lord! May my bhavana of joy as regards the meritorious awaken! Those who are worthier than I, who have greater capacity - let joy awake in my heart towards them, instead of envy!"
Envy is a disease. It is a universal malady. Even monks and saints are not free from it. When a monk's reputation is on the rise, when his importance and glory increase, it becomes very difficult for another monk to exhibit real pleasure or joy. Immediately he is assailed by envy and starts thinking of ways and means to demolish his colleague's reputation and glory. Envy is a terrible malady: few escape it. It can only be cured through spirituality. Those who are permeated by spirituality, by displaying joy towards a meritorious person, awaken their own virtues. To evaluate selflessly the qualities of a meritorious person to present these before others, is an achievement got through sadhana: not every man is capable of it.
Some time ago I was nominated to the office of Yuvacharya. It elicited many reactions. The emotion-charged language in which my classmate and colleague, Muni Budhmalji expressed his joy, filled us with ecstasy - both Acharya Sri and myself. Acharya Sri was overjoyed to hear the sentiments expressed and I, too, felt very happy. Only that person can display such sentiments that has profundity and has reached a high stage in sadhana. Otherwise such sentiments do not arise in the mind. All know that our Order has a definite ruling according to which the man whom the Acharya appoints as his successor and whom he declares to be the future Acharya, has to be accepted as such by everyone, whether they like it or not. The tradition is well known. Yet the tradition of each man's mind is different: his reaction depends upon his inner disposition.
Envy is one of the most complex mental problems. A man makes himself unhappy for no reason at all. Envy increases mental tension. A man invites many troubles thereby.
Here is Acharya's own prayer: "O Lord! Awaken in my heart a feeling of respect for the talented, a feeling of joy. Let me say to myself: "These meritorious people have acquired and developed their abilities through self-exertion. May I, too, make an effort to acquire and develop such abilities!"

Philosophy of Equality
Envy arises in that man's mind that does not believe in spiritual equality. A man who believes that every soul is equal to another, that each soul is endowed with unlimited knowledge, endless intuition, extreme bliss and limitless energy, that each soul has the right to evolve, and each soul can develop the qualities with which it is endowed, is never jealous of another person's advancement. Envy is the mark of atheism. Can a person who has faith in himself ever accept anyone's monopoly in the matter of self-development?

To repudiate another person's progress is to deny the excellence of virtue, merits. If we believe in the goodness of merits, we must extol them wherever we find them. With the establishment of such an outlook, the heart's joy becomes flawless and uninterrupted. One sees another person's goodness, and the bhavana of joy, of happy self-gratification awakens in one. No vestige of any inferiority complex anywhere! The mind concentrated on one's own valour and exertion. This is a laughing consciousness, the consciousness of seeking a solution in the problem itself, a consciousness, which derives joy out of suffering. And there are many who are able to develop such a consciousness and live happily forever without sorrow. For an ignorant person, this ocean of the world is full of poison, but for a man practising the bhavana of joy, the world-ocean is full of nectar, rains for him everywhere. Thus, for one man life is bitter, for another it is sweet.

Sources
  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Bhavana
  3. Consciousness
  4. Muni
  5. Sadhana
  6. Soul
  7. Yuvacharya
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